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Sun and Moon Image
Are You Narrative or Episodic?

“What kind of question is that?” you might ask. It’s the kind of question that contemporary philosopher Galen Strawson asks. In his book “Things That Bother Me” Strawson says that most people live in the “narrative” mode. They experience their life as something shaped by a narrative arc. Their life is a story with a beginning and, eventually, an end. However, there is a minority whose experience of life is “episodic.” They move from one experience to the next without putting any of these experiences in the context of a personal history.

I found this idea intriguing and, being an astrologer, I immediately tried to put that idea in astrological terms. What astrological factors would distinguish an episodic person from a narrative person? At first I thought of the qualities. Narrative people might be more Fixed, while the episodic ones would be Mutable. But what do you do with the Cardinal signs? What I needed was a dichotomy, a duo of astrological factors. And then it hit me: the Sun and the Moon.

In the horoscopes of most people the Sun is the top dog. It represents the ego, our central sense of self and, as such, every other part of the horoscope tends to be shaped by its influence. Through the Sun we see ourselves as the center of the universe, as the point around which everything we experience revolves. This is true whether you’re an attention-hogging Leo or a bashful Virgo.

For someone functioning is this solar mode, seeing life as a narrative is completely natural. The way we tell this story will, of course, vary. A Libra Sun might be inclined to leave out the ugly bits while the narrative of an Aries is likely to include a lot of exciting chase scenes, but the narrative, the story of who we are, would be there.

There are some horoscopes, however, in which the Sun is not favored. It might be weak by sign and placement and not strongly aspected. It these charts the second most important indicator gets a shot of leading the pack, and that is the Moon.

The Moon’s role in the chart is typically that of a protector. It protects the self against anything that is perceived as threat. The tools the Moon uses to do are subjective: things emotions, intuition and physical reactions. If you ever considered taking a shortcut through a dark alley at night and felt a knot in your stomach, that was your Moon talking to you. But if for a person with a Moon dominated horoscope the Moon's fuction becomes more than just your mother's voice telling you to be careful. In these instances, the Moon speaks for the personality as a whole.

A person with a horoscope in which the Moon is particularly strong is more likely to experience life an episodic manner. What’s important is what’s happening now because that’s where their emotional energy and watchfulness is directed. The past is certainly a factor but, if you’re a lunar person, what your remember of those past events is how they made you feel. The story behind those feelings is much less important.

Though I have not tested this theory, I think that it gives us a pretty good explanation for Strawson’s observations. Most of us are solar types because the Sun in the most important single factor in most horoscopes. But there is a minority of charts in which the Sun is weak and the Moon is strong. It’s these lunar types that would be “episodic.”

Think the over. Are you a narrative person or an episodic person? If you think you’re the latter, is the Moon particularly strong in your horoscope? I would be interested in knowing what your think.


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